30 Apr 2019

Essential reading list from RNZ Concert listeners

11:24 am on 1 May 2019

Stuck in between books? Desperate to know what to read next? RNZ Concert's weekday morning music programme Daybreak put the question to listeners: "What's the book you can read over and over again?" and created this essential reading list.

What to read?

What to read? Photo: CC 2.0 quattrostagioni

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

"The characters are so real that they will never leave my heart, and I have already re-read the book to revisit them. And the story, spanning many years and written in a very creative and clever time-hopping way... is absolutely spell-binding." Alicia

Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

"Set in Barcelona and spanning decades you get to know it's cast of fabulous characters at various stages in their lives. You also get introduced to "The Cemetery for Forgotten Books" and it's keeper. Ruiz Zafon has followed this up with two other books, published later but he insists they're not sequels and that you can read the three in any order. I'd recommend reading Shadow of the Wind first though and then again at the end, or in between the others  - really, just read it! It's great." Catherine

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez

"I can read and re-read this and still love it just as much as the first time." Bruno

The Source by James A Michener

"The book approaches 1000 pages in length, and I must admit that I haven't read it for quite a few years, because of the length. I first read this book in my 20's, and have since read it many times. But about 15 years ago I was finding that after I was over half way through the book, I couldn't keep track of it and remember what had happened earlier. I think old age found me! " Tony

The Secret River by Kate Grenville

"Compassionate and raw; a balanced, historical fiction" according to Ian. The author dedicates it to "the Aboriginal people of Australia : past, present and future". Ian

Cyrano de Bergerac by Edmond Rostand

"The only book that I began rereading as soon as I got to the end, and I’ve read it several more times since." Joanna

The Lord of the Rings  by JRR Tolkien

"I bought this in the one volume paperback published in 1968 and cycled round Ireland with it just short of age 16. I finished reading it in the youth hostel in Valentia Island. I immediately started reading it again in the pouring rain. Next time was at age 17, in three and a half days over a school half term and so on. Before I went to see the Jackson films, very nervous, I read it again; interesting with the critical view of an adult. I thought, what would he (Jackson) do with the low-class English accent of the orcs? He did it, it worked." Andrew

The Dispossessed by Ursula LeGuin

"A book everyone should read for inspiration for a better, much better world." Ro

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

"I just love Alice in Wonderland. I try and collect different versions and I am looking forward to my daughter being old enough that I can share them with her." Lynda

Messiah by Gore Vidal

"Its a long time since I read Messiah by Gore Vidal, and even longer since he wrote it in early 1950s. It seems almost prophetic in today's crazy context. It is time to read it again." Alistair

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

A hostage situation and an opera singer. "So skillfully executed, with the tension of the hostage situation as the background for developing relationships - like a field of flowers unfolding. Beautiful." Jenny

Bel Canto was made into a film in 2018 starring Julianne Moore with the voice of opera superstar Reneé Fleming.

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